Can a Child Be Tested for An Allergy to Peanut Butter?

What's the best way to find out if my child should avoid this food?

Without a doubt, the easiest and fastest way to know if your child is allergic to peanut butter is by making an appointment with an allergist. An allergist tests and treats all types of allergies, and peanut allergy diagnosis is the sure way to find the answer to whether or not a peanut allergy or any food allergy exists.

Two types of allergy testing for food allergies

The most common way to discover which foods your child may be allergic to is with skin testing. This involves a small skin prick to place a small amount of particular foods that the child may be allergic to under the skin. It is often done on the forearm or back where any reaction can be closely monitored. If a person is allergic to any of the foods, a small or large hive will appear. A nurse or technician will record the results so that the allergist can discuss them with you when the testing is complete. It only takes about 15 minutes for the skin test to be completed.

Testing at the allergist's office is safe

Having the allergist's office test your child is the safest way to know if a peanut allergy, dairy allergy, or any other food allergy exists. Some allergies, especially those to peanuts, can produce life-threatening, severe reactions. This medical specialist is qualified to deal with any allergic reaction if it should happen. You and the nursing staff will monitor your child for reactions after the injections, and if a rash or hives begin to appear or your child's face suddenly becomes flushed, those are signs of a moderate to severe peanut allergy.

It is very rare to have a severe reaction, but it could happen

If your child has trouble breathing or other symptoms of a severe reaction, the medical staff will intervene to stop the reaction. They can administer medication that will keep your child safe. Generally, there is little chance of a severe reaction to allergy testing since such a small amount of the food is placed under the skin. As a precautionary measure, you will know that if your child does have a severe reaction, you are at a place that can handle it quickly. Having this testing done is the best way to know which foods to avoid to safeguard your child.

Blood testing is sometimes done instead

A blood test can also be used to see what the body's immune system's response to certain foods. If a child has a food allergy, antibodies in the blood, known as immunoglobulin will be seen in the child's blood sample. You won't know the results immediately because the sample must be sent to a lab. Your doctor will receive the results in about a week. Blood tests are not always the best way of diagnosing a peanut allergy because the test results can be a false negative or false positive. For this reason, allergists often prefer skin testing.

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